Christian Pulisic: Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says USA international needs to prove himself at Stamford Bridge

Christian Pulisic has 22 caps for the USA
Christian Pulisic has 22 caps for the USA

Christian Pulisic arrived at Chelsea pegged as Eden Hazard's replacement, but the American forward is already facing an uphill battle just to get a place in the team under Frank Lampard.

The £58m man signed from Borussia Dortmind in January but finished off the season in the Bundesliga before moving to Stamford Bridge to work with new manager Lampard.

The form of Willian and, in particular, Mason Mount, has relegated Pulisic to the bench and at times not even being selected in the matchday squad.

At just 21, Pulisic is still a youngster himself, but given the price tag and his experience big things were expected of him, but Lampard has now told him he must prove he deserves a place in the side.

Pulisic did get off the bench to play against Southampton, but the return of Callum Hudson-Odoi could also limit his appearances this season - unless he responds to Lampard's challenge.

"He's level. I spoke to him two days before the Grimsby game and was very clear about the standards and we have to give him the fact he's moved country and moved leagues," said Lampard.

"He's as young as all the young players we keep talking about. He's just turned 21, so I think, if anyone is getting too excited about this, they should calm down because he's started five games for us.

"What he needs to do is work, work daily, work to show within the group that he deserves to play as all the players do, so that's what the focus on everyone is."

Pulisic was not the only high-profile player not involved at Lille, with Ross Barkley not in the 18.

And Lampard added: "This is one of my difficult problems in this job. I have good players and everyone has a story.

"Pulisic has a price tag, Barkley is an international player, Mason Mount is an international player, Callum Hudson-Odoi just signed a new contract, Bayern Munich wanted to buy him last summer and he's an international player.

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"Ruben Loftus-Cheek will come back and be an international player. I can't pick them all. All I have to demand of them is that they show me in training and show me they are worthy of the place.

"It's just my job. Next week you might be asking me about two other names. It's the competition that we have."

Hudson-Odoi needs to learn

Hudson-Odoi returned from injury recently and, after a slow start, Lampard is pleased with how the England man has stepped up his own game.

"I'm really pleased and that has to continue. We can all focus on Pulisic from the other day but Callum's the same and I have to speak in the real world when I speak to them and sometimes as a manager you want more," Lampard said.

"You have to be honest and the players have to react and Callum has now come on with two assists in the games he's come on and that's what you want to keep pushing."

Olivier Giroud is another who has struggled for game-time since Lampard took over at Stamford Bridge, but the Frenchman was praised by the ex-Derby boss.

Lampard added: "My relationship is really good with him. He's a great professional, trains at a level everyday, great in the dressing room and in the game passes on experience.

"Everyone wants to play. I understand that and accept that. I was one of the worst. I hated not playing. I was terrible so on this side of the fence I get it, but all I want to see is positivity, how they are daily in the place and I'm seeing that.

"All good teams need a big squad in these modern days to try and be a successful team and it will need everyone pulling through the season in the same direction whether playing or not and, to be fair to Oli, he's been fantastic and we'll need him."


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